Do you put up in an area covered by patchy mobile network? Are you travelling to some remote place with only 2G (EDGE) data connectivity? In either of the two scenarios, you most likely would not be able to use Facebook app on your Android smartphone. Especially in India, where even urban areas witness mobile networks juggling between 2G and 3G networks, using your favorite social media app can be a frustrating experience sometimes.
Keeping all these factors in mind, the social media giant, Facebook has on Monday launched lighter version of its app dubbed as ‘Facebook Lite’.‘Facebook Lite’ is a standalone app which is nothing but a simplified version of its mobile website optimized for low-end Android smartphones in emerging markets such as India and Philippines. This new app from Facebook has been designed in a way to work fine even on a 2G or patchy internet connections.
Vijay Shankar, Product Manager at Facebook said,
“There are a large number of users, who are on 2G, and one of the feedbacks we have received is that the app does not load fast on some devices. This lighter version has been developed so that the app works well across all network conditions and on all types of phones,”
One of the major problem which low-end smartphone users in emerging markets face is low storage availability on their phones. Low storage means they have to uninstall some lesser used apps to continue using Facebook app on their smartphones. The ‘Facebook Lite’ addresses this problem by being ultra light app with its small size of just 430 Kb!
Vijay Shankar, Product Manager at Facebook further added,
“We noticed that many people who are on low-end phones are forced to delete some apps so that they can keep the Facebook app. With this lighter version, they won’t have to do that. Also, this is quick to install and load,”
To much of our surprise the ‘Facebook Lite’ app supports most of the features such as News Feed, status updates, notifications and photos, while at the same time using very limited data. The new app does not support videos and advanced location services. It is currently supported by all Android devices running version 2.2 or higher.
The launch of this new standalone app by Facebook may be seen as an attempt to dive deep into emerging markets, where most of the smartphones sold are entry level with below average specs, at the same time connected to internet on patchy networks. Two main benefits of using ‘Facebook Lite’ are its small size (430 Kb) and low data usage.